Being from the Atlantic, naturally my family just had to bring a few east coast traditions with them. For most of my childhood, I didn’t care for the taste of underwater creatures, which was surprising because my family was always indulging in various types of seafood as I grew up – I generally stuck to the classic chicken fingers and fries combo. I think it was through my many travels that I learned to open up to new and different foods and finally, I embraced my Nova Scotian roots, and I am so glad that I did!
It’s always been a yearly tradition in my household to have a couple lobster boils throughout the summer, particularly between the months of May-August, as this is when lobster season is at it’s peak. It’s an event that always creates a ton of memories that are full of laughter, flying lobster shell and feisty + cantankerous shellfish. I can even recall as a child, my dad putting them in the bathtub and I would go up and play some sort of game with them (their claws were still shut tight with elastics of course), I think I may have even named a few!
Having a lobster boil in your home is nothing like being outdoors and close to the ocean, but it’s a makeshift way of bringing a bit of the east coast here to the prairies!
First of all, I would like to note that this is not a quick and easy dinner. It generally takes approximately 2 or 3 hours from start to finish (seriously!) and it can even prove to be a bit of a workout, but that’s what makes it fun!
Where to get your lobster!
We have tried a few places around Calgary, but the place we have found you get the best bang for your buck is Superstore. Try going on either a Tuesday or a Thursday to get your lobster, as these are the days that they get a fresh shipment in from the east. We have also tried going to a few specialty shops around Calgary, but they tend to be pricier for the exact same quality of lobster – they do technically all come from the same ocean.
Steps to cooking a fresh lobster
- Fill a large pot with water until it is approximately ¾ full
- Heavily salt the water
- Bring the water to a boil
- Grab lobster from the top of the body, this can be a challenge if he’s feisty and cut off the elastics around the claws
- Ensure the tail is tucked in and go in head first, making sure he doesn’t kick – the key here is speed
- Make sure that the water stays at a boil the entire time the lobster is cooking, but you need to watch that it doesn’t boil over!
- Once your time is up, remove your lobster from the pot immediately, as you don’t want it to continue to cook – drain well
|1 lb.||8 min|
|1 lb. – 1¼ lb.||10 min|
|1¼ lb. – 1½ lb.||12 min|
|1½ lb. – 2 lb.||14 min|
|2 lb.||16 min|
**If you have more than one lobster in the pot you will need to increase the time by 2/3 minutes!
Set two bowls beside your plate, one for your meat and the other for the empty shells. This way your meat is not getting mixed up with the gross parts you don’t want to eat.
It’s inevitable that you will have meat, shell pieces and salt water flying around, especially if you are with a group of people. It is ideal to clean out your lobster outside to prevent the mess, but if not put down garbage bags so the clean-up is a bit easier. You may also want to wear an old set of clothing, as the chances are high that they will have a lovely seafood smell on them as the night goes on – I am generally covered in lobster bits by the time I am done!
There is definitely an art to getting the lobster meat gracefully out of the shell and it can take a couple tries to get the hang of the strategy. It can help to use a lobster cracker and seafood forks, as they will come in handy when cleaning the smaller areas in the claws and legs – a regular fork and nutcracker will also work just as efficiently.
You will find the majority of the good tender meat in the claws and tail, but if you’re willing to really work for it the legs can sometimes prove to be worth the sweat. One thing that I have learned the hard way over the years is that it is extremely important to get the tail out in one-fell-swoop – trust me!
Once you have fully de-shelled your lobster it’s time to dig in! Personally, I love to melt butter and dip my meat in it as I find it makes it melt in your mouth without masking the taste of the lobster. There are also a variety of other dipping sauces out there that you can try, or you can just eat it on its own – your choice! Another thing that goes amazing with lobster meat is hollandaise sauce. If you have the time, prep this before hand so it is ready and once you are done drizzle it over your meat, it will give it a delicious gourmet buttery texture.
Left over options
If you are anything like me, there is no way you will ever eat an entire lobster in one sitting, but that’s ok! This just means you will have leftovers for a second or even third helping – win win!
I always try and use my meat in a new recipe or add it to one of my favorite comfort foods. Here are a few ideas that I have experimented with in the past and have all come out as a success!
- Lobster Salad Sandwich or a Lobster Roll
- Lobster Grilled Cheese
- Lobster Mac and Cheese – a personal favorite of mine!
- Lobster Scrambled Eggs
- Lobster Breakfast Sandwich
OR you can just eat it plain like you did the night before. Either way, I can guarantee you it will be amazing!
Having a lobster boil is no easy task, as it takes work and can be a bit messy. However, the experience and the delicious meal that you get out of it is well worth the blood, sweat and tears. If you add a little wine and a few good friends and family, I can assure you that it will be a night that no one will forget!